Orissa’s ‘Dussehra Bullock race’ attracts thousands

November 14th, 2007 - 2:57 am ICT by admin  
Century old tradition is the ‘Dussehra Bullock race,’ in which, at least 50 bullock from the village, decked in embroidered sheets and smeared with vermilion and various paints race against each other.

During Dussehra, more than 4000 people gathered in Chandrapada village to watch the bullock race.

Bullock owners pamper their bovines round the year and feed them with sesame oil, green fodder and other high calorie diet so that the animals can win the annual competition.

The pre-race rituals and feast at times cost rupees 5000 but this does not deter the owner’s excitement.

“First we perform various rituals and serve food to Brahmins. Once the rituals are over, we bathe the bullock and smear colours on them. After this, we decorate them with embroidered sheets that are embedded with beads. Once the bullock is ready, we toss a live fish in front of it. After this, we let the bullock loose and they start running. A big feast is organised as the bullock race ends,” said Laxmidhar Das, a villager.

The bullock race is a much sought after event for the villagers.

“I have been coming to see this bullock race since my childhood. I like this festival a lot,” said Kanak Behera,” an onlooker.

However, as modernisation sets in within Orissa’s hinterland, youth are losing interest in such traditional games.

“At least 40 to 50 bullocks participated in the festival this year. However, gradually the participation is decreasing as people now consider it unsophisticated and look down upon the tradition,” said Manibhadra Pal, a villager.

Several cash prizes are given to the owner of the bullock that completes the round at the earliest. (ANI)

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